Give Yourself a Tarot Reading

I’ve thought about doing this many times, particularly since I’vestarted consulting psychics. Last month, I even went out and boughtmyself a Tarot Deck. But prior to last night, I’d never actually givenmyself a reading. After all, I’m not psychic.

I mean, sure, I like to think I have a relatively good intuition and I’m certainly a searcher… but sit down to try and channel the universe’s energy as it relates to my own life? Yeah, right. Except that last night… that’s exactly what I did.

It was about 8:00 pm, and I was feeling the resistance. Oh, why bother? What am I going to be able to see? There’s nothing particular I’m wondering about at the moment (well, except life, the universe and, um, everything). But (and I’ll cop to this), I’d already agreed to do this article about giving myself a first-time reading. In fact, I’d pitched the idea and it had been due that afternoon, so I was actually late (and that’s not my style, but it is a testament to the power of resistance!). In other words, I had no choice but to sit myself down. So, remembering everything I had ever read or heard from any professional psychic, I decided to begin with the all-important mood.

1. Set the mood
It started with a hot bath. I poured some chocolate-milk bath bubbles into the tub, grabbed the book du jour, and climbed in. I soaked for a bit, and read. By the time I got out of the bath, the idea of doing a Tarot Spread was growing on me.

Next, I turned off my cell phone and the TV (which had been running The Tudors at a very low volume in the hope that I might catch a glimpse of Jonathan Rhys Meyers in a compromising position). I lit two small candles and a stick of incense in my living room – luckily, I had the house to myself. I decided that the chair in my front corner would be the perfect spot in which to do the deed. I’d bought it some time ago in an attempt to make my house feel more grown-up, and it had, in the time since, become my reading-and-chilling chair.

2. Intention
I grabbed my journal and a pen (something I highly recommend), pulled out one of my little stacking tables, placed the candles on two of the corners and, sitting up as straight as I could with my feet firmly planted on the wooden floor, closed my eyes. I took ten deep, measured breaths counting “one, two” on each inhalation and “one, two” on each exhalation. I did this meditation-style exercise to clear my head – in the belief that if I could center myself, I would be more tapped-in to the signs I was about to be given. After the tenth breath, I opened my eyes and felt hyper-alert, awake, and ready to begin. My feeling of resistance was gone.

First, I set my intention. Here’s exactly what I wrote in my journal: “I set my intention for this reading – to connect with who I am. The seeker. Not the sought.” I had been been wondering how to reconnect with myself – I recently came out of a relationship I’d stayed in far too long, defying a gut feeling that I should end it. In fact, I had actually tuned out my gut instincts – and as a result I had been struggling to remember who I was, where I should turn, and how I should behave in life and in love.

3. The spread
Admittedly, I’d been looking for external answers. At this point I should mention that I’d already decided to do a Celtic Cross reading, after consulting The Little Black Book of Tarot. This particular book was a gift to me from someone dear, but there are many others like it for you to use. I definitely recommend having a guidebook handy, as it can be tremendously helpful – both in following a guideline and in focusing your intentions.

Next, I shuffled the cards. Now I’ve never been a prize shuffler (I have small-ish hands… or at least that’s my excuse), but I found the table in front of me to be a big help. At a certain juncture, I heard an inner voice telling me to repeat that three more times. Then it quickly self-corrected to four. I decided the second voice was that of my inner editor, and opted to go with my first impulse. I shuffled three more times, and then laid the deck on the table and spread the cards with my left hand.

4. Pick the cards
Now it was time to pick the cards. There are ten in the Celtic Cross spread, and they should be interpreted as follows:

1. The Present Situation
2. The Challenge
3. Subconscious Issues
4. Foundation in Distant Past
5. Recent Past
6. Near Future
7. You and What You Bring to the Situation
8. Others and Their Influences
9. Hopes and Fears
10. The Outcome

As I selected each card (in that order) I focused on what the card represented. I laid out the first six as instructed, then chose the rest, but left them in a pile. One at a time, I flipped the first six (the final four are to be done separately – afterward). Before reading the book’s interpretation of each card, I spent some time with it. I took the card in my hands and looked at the image. The colors. The lines. The mood. How it made me feel. I took notes. For instance, the first card I drew was The Queen of Pentacles. Here’s exactly what I wrote:

5. Discover the answers
“I hold it all in my hands – all the answers (a star in the disc). A rabbit in the corner is rebirth. A feeling of peace. A winged crown. Bountiful roses overhead. Mountains far behind. Peaceful contemplation. All is okay with the world.”

After writing this little bit (which I did for each card), I consulted the book. There, I learned that (on this card at least) my intuition was pretty close to the correct interpretation. It turns out that the Queen of Pentacles helps everything grow – she’s got common sense, practical knowledge and earthly beauty. According to my Little Black Book, she also usually indicates that “real money is on the way.”

I repeated this procedure for the remaining cards. As I interpreted them alone – and with my book’s help – I felt understanding set in. It was as if each card had a very unique, personal meaning directly related to my life and to who I am as a human being (which, as mentioned, was my actual intention). As the cards took me through my own challenges (The Knight of Cups, for instance, who is not really comfortable with his own power, despite the wings on his feet), all the way to who I hoped to be but feared I never would become (The Queen of Wands, who is actually the Queen of Love), I felt myself becoming empowered. I felt at one with the world, and increasingly reassured about my place in it.

And here’s the kicker- as if everything I was feeling in that moment was being confirmed, turning the page to scribble notes on my last card (The Page of Wands – a hard charging natural-born leader who signifies being “practically clubbed over the head by opportunity”), I noticed this quote in my journal:

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long course of the rivers and they pass by themselves – without wondering.” I circled it – and gave thanks. And I put the cards away.

Then, as I closed The Little Black Book, on its cover I noticed yet another quotation I’d missed during all the months that volume had been sitting on my desk – “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” I had my answer. I knew what I should do, and how I needed to move forward after this breakup – in my life and in love – and I scribbled it down in my journal. I wrote simply this. “Be. Me.”

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